MPI Brief Offers Demographic, Socioeconomic Profile of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States

MPI Brief Offers Demographic, Socioeconomic Profile of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States

"How to treat the nation’s estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants is a key component of the comprehensive immigration reform debate underway in Congress. The population’s characteristics, including income levels, workforce participation rates, English language proficiency, and health care coverage, are important factors in designing the legislation and successfully implementing it, if enacted.

A new Migration Policy Institute issue brief, A Demographic, Socioeconomic, and Health Coverage Profile of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States, provides data about unauthorized immigrants in the United States. The brief draws on an innovative new methodology developed by demographers at The Pennsylvania State University’s Population Research Institute and their analysis of the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). The SIPP national survey allows for a more complete overview of the noncitizen population, since it asks whether noncitizens are legal permanent residents. The analysis marks the first time that these self-reported data on legal status have been used to generate a national profile of unauthorized immigrants. 

This brief is one in a series that MPI has published on key policy topics in the current national immigration debate. Earlier briefs include detailed analysis of the Senate immigration bill, comparing its provisions with those in the 2006 and 2007 Senate bills; an examination of the “back of the line” for green card applicants — who is in line and how long would it take to clear; and an overview of low-skilled immigration and the questions that policymakers must grapple with when designing programs for admission of low-skill workers." - MPI, May 2013.